Hey there, fellow horror geeks and monsterphiles! Prometheus here! For those that don’t know, February is Women in Horror Month! In honor of that, I recently had the chance to speak with Devanny Pinn, who has been involved in horror for a long time now both in front of and behind the camera! She was also involved in the very first Women in Horror Month!
Devanny’s a riot and you can check out our hilarious conversation, plus a crazy story below!
DEVANNY PINN: DP
JOSHUA SCAFIDI: JS
DP: Hi, Josh?
DP: Hi, this is Devanny Pinn! How are you?
JS: Hi, Devanny, how are you doing?
DP: I’m doing well, thank you.
JS: Thank you for the phone call.
JS: It’s women in horror month! I know you’re a horror geek, like myself.
DP: Yes, absolutely.
JS: What got you into horror?
DP: Well, it was actually my first film. It was a horror movie. Growing up, I was kind of a sheltered kid and a Christian, so I didn’t watch a lot of horror movies until I was actually an adult. So, when I did my first film, and it was horror, I was like... obsessed.
DP + JS: (Laughing.)
DP: Immediately. It was love at first sight. I did a couple of other movies right after that, that were not the genre (horror) and I immediately knew, like no, I was hooked. So, I went right back and started targeting just rolls and involvement in the horror genre and the horror community and I just fell in love with all of it. The people, the fans, everything about it was awesome and I’ve been here ever since!
JS: What was the first horror film that you watched?
DP: I guess the first thing that I really, really liked as a kid was, I don’t know if you would call it horror, but for me it was “Jurassic Park.” Scared the shit out of me.
DP: I was with my mother, who was very, very reserved, and we thought we were going to watch a nice little movie about dinosaurs and then they started eating people and I was like… this is awesome! From there, I grew up a ‘90s kid, so I love slashers like “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” and “Scream,” all of those. I just could not get enough. “Final Destination,” “Saw,” I love torture horror. Anything with lots of interesting effects was really fun for me. I really like blood effects and gore. Anything that’s fun escapism and keeps you jumping around. I’m really perky that way. I love psychological horrors, too. Anything that can dive into your dark side for two hours. Love it.
JS: I love the effects, too. When I was a kid, I would read Fangoria magazine and all that kind of stuff.
DP: I wasn’t allowed! Now I go back and try to get all the old issues.
JS: That’s one of the coolest things. Seeing how they make the monsters.
DP: Yeah! I watch all the behind the scenes and the commentary, everything I can get my hands on now. I’m like, how did they do that? So much fun.
JS: So, you prefer practical effects over CGI?
DP: Yes. Well… As a fan, I’m practical one hundred percent. As a filmmaker, I try to base everything in practical and then amplify it with CGI. You will rarely see me supporting, in any capacity, something that’s strictly CGI. I think it’s kind of a cop-out and fans of the genre they appreciate the old school and the real and the art that goes into it. So, we try to do practical all the way.
JS: Now you do both, but would you say you prefer to be in front of the camera or behind it?
DP: I prefer to do both, as much as I’m allowed to. I started in acting, I did that for a very long time and then I started getting really irritating. I would ask the lighting guy, hey, what are you doing? I’d ask the camera guy, hey what does that do? So, I was driving everybody nuts, but I just fell in love with the idea of building the worlds that your character’s going to be in. Now I love doing that, too. From development all the way through to distribution. I just love every element of delivering a story to our fan base. You know?
JS: So, you’ve done a lot of horror…
JS: Has there ever been any one scene that was just tough to get through?
DP: There’s been a lot of scenes.
DP: I could tell you on and off the record, there’s a lot of scenes that are tough. It just depends. When I started and really dived into it, I sought out the most extreme elements, physically and psychologically, so it can be exhausting. I did a lot of torture stuff early in my career and when you’re a teenager, you can kind of get through that, now that I’m a little bit older… it’s tough physically on your body. It’s also tough like, horror actresses and actors do not get the credit they should because when you’re in an intense scene, say you have to fight for your life, those are raw, extreme, full-body, full mental, emotions.
You have to go to the most primal place as a performer, and fine you get there once and do the scene, that’s great but they forget that a scene doesn’t get shot once. It gets shot over and over and over again for hours, days… weeks. So, to stay in that kind of extreme, primal state for huge amounts of time, it’s a lot. It’s a lot on your body.
I remember, even the cushier stuff, the super indie stuff, like “Piranha 3D, and that was about two weeks in one hundred and fifteen degrees, out on the lake and there was so much going on. In the middle of a lake, you couldn’t just go to the bathroom. You couldn’t just go get, everything had to be shuttled. You couldn’t get too tan, even though we’re out on the lake because then it wouldn’t match continuity from yesterday. (laughing.)
JS: That’s crazy.
DP: Yeah, it’s crazy. I can’t swim, but I did a lot of water scenes in my last movie that just came out. I had a scene where I’m drowning, and I realized halfway through… I’m actually drowning!
DP + JS: (Laughing.)
DP: So, it was like straight on camera. Then you have the special effects. You know special effects sit in the chair forever and ever and ever, and then you have to do the scene and you have to make it work in a performance and you have to make the gag work and if you don’t there’s a huge amount of resets. Bloodstains, skin, your hair. There are so many extras to being a performer in horror that a quote-unquote, regular actor doesn’t even have to consider. That’s what, I think, makes us so badass. A special brand of crazy. (Laughing.)
JS: Absolutely. It’s its own community too, I love it.
DP: And they’re passionate, awesome people. There’s so much in our market that’s changing right now, and one thing that’s consistent, that you count on, is that the horror fans are going to be there and the horror community will be there to support them, and that’s really awesome.
DP: Now do you ever do any of the horror conventions or festivals?
JS: I did L.A. Comic-Con just a few months ago. When I started, I did everything. One of my first conventions was, I think, the last Fangoria convention. I was doing I’d say five to ten a year for several years. Then it got to be too much, honestly. I loved meeting the fans, but I was also shooting about ten movies a year for a long time, so I was getting burnt out. I’m also a terrible salesperson. I’d be like; hey, you watched my movie? Take all my stuff for free!
DP + JS: (Laughing.)
DP: I was losing money constantly. I loved being there, I loved soaking it all up, but it was a lot, so I took a hiatus from conventions and a lot of the festival scene. For the last four years, I didn’t do any. Then just this year, I started doing them again. It slowed down a little bit, I’m just doing a couple of movies a year now and I felt good about coming back out and wanting to reconnect with the fans and be part of that fun immersive scene again. I plan to do a couple more next year, too.
JS: That’s awesome. They’re always a good time. Now with your experience, and your love for the horror genre… If you could pick any horror film to remake, what would it be?
DP: I have a love-hate (relationship) with remakes.
JS: Me too.
DP: I think most of us do, so it’s a special question. I think if they’re going to be remade you need to bring something to it. Remakes for the sake of; hey, it’s a cash cow and we own the rights, isn’t a good enough reason. I think recasting an infamous role with the opposite gender or something, is not a good enough reason. You need to have an understanding and a respect for horror fans, for one.
I think that’s part of my problem with remakes. The people making it don’t like horror. They don’t understand it, they don’t have a sense for horror, and they don’t seem to care about the people who made it a popular film or franchise to begin with. I think it starts with respect, and then wanting to honor the source material, while also giving it a reason to have a remake in the first place.
That being said… (laughing.) I think there’s room for certain things that maybe had technology restrictions, maybe there’s a fresh opportunity there. I couldn’t say one movie in particular that I’d want to do yet because I think you really have to have a reason to do it, and I haven’t seen that yet.
JS: Alright well, let me flip that question a bit. What if you could pick one classic monster to work with?
DP: Classic monster… I actually really, really love all things Egypt and old Egyptian history, so I would love to work with the Mummy. I think that would be a lot of fun. I think with a lot of monsters, you kind of know them and you know their strengths and limitations but I feel like that’s a character that isn’t explored as often, so you have a lot of flexibility and directions you could go with that.
JS: I’m a huge Mummy fan myself.
DP: Are you? Yesss!
JS: Oh yeah! I love good ol’ Imhotep.
DP: Yes! Absolutely.
JS: Now, I have to ask you if something’s true.
JS: So, I heard that in some scenes where you had to scream, you actually had the cops called to come and save you? Did that happen?
DP: Yes! One of my first torture sequences, actually. It was a very… modest set. Bless these people, but it was pretty much just two creepy looking dudes with a tiny camera, in a warehouse thy rented, and this bizarre looking set, with some guy in his underwear filming with his cell phone and I’m tied, gagged, and duct-taped to a chair.
DP: So I’m, of course, hours into this torture scene with this character, and it’s supposed to be very candid, avant-garde, like real-world, it could happen, and someone apparently heard me screaming in the warehouse and called the police thinking that I was really being tortured and murdered. So, the cops show up, and it doesn’t even look like there’s a film set because it was very raw-indie, they show up and see these creepy dudes filming me, and I was gagged, so I couldn’t even tell them it was a film set. So, they detained the filmmakers…
DP: Yeah, it was a whole thing. (Laughing.) So, we had to go back and show them footage before they would go away. They didn’t believe it wasn’t a real crime scene, it was horrible. And awesome, because it makes for a fun story.
JS: Yeah, that’s one crazy story!
JS: I guess, in the horror genre, that’s something to put on the resume, right? Bragging rights? That’s awesome.
DP: Absolutely. Well, once we realized no one was going to jail. Then, absolutely. It was super fun. That happens a lot and now I have fun with it. Like, if I do a really bloody scene or have a really crazy gag, after the scene I’ll go to Walmart or something and see if anybody helps me.
JS: (Laughing.) No…
DP: Like, buy a band-aid and just be bleeding from everywhere. Nobody usually says anything, how sad is that?
JS: Yeah, that’s kind of scary. People just walk by. (Laughing.)
DP: They do, they mind their own. I’m like, wow, If there’s ever really a problem, we’re in trouble.
JS: You have an opera background, is that what does it? In regard to getting the cops called.
DP: Yes! I finally found a real use for my schooling! Sorry, mom.
DP +JS: (Laughing.)
DP: I found that using a lot of the same muscles to project and control your voice in singing and music, were a lot of the same things that allowed me to do some of my screaming and some of my death scenes really benefited from those particular skills. I’m sure that’s not what my family was hoping for when I started college but yeah. It’s been a really fun and interesting thing to incorporate into horror movies.
JS: Hey, it paid off…
DP: Yeah! So, that’s been helpful.
JS: Do you still sing, at all?
DP: I don’t as much, no I was actually in a pop girl-group right after college. We actually got signed by Jive Records and everything. I thought I was going to be a pop star for five seconds. But then the music scene kind of changed and I started doing more movies. I hoped that maybe at some point we could do another horror musical or something. That would be really fun. If they did Evil Dead the Musical for film, instead of just for stage, that would be really cool. Or Re-Animator. One of those would be a lot of fun.
JS: I’m dying to see Evil Dead the Musical. Dying to see it.
DP: I wanted to see it so badly and unfortunately, I was filming a lot when they were doing the latest run. We need to go. Next time it comes back out this way.
DP: If anyone’s reading this… hook us up, tickets.
DP + JS: (Laughing)
JS: Now you have a film coming out on DVD soon, February 25th? The Dawn.
DP: I do! Thank you so much for knowing that. It was in theatres and hit VOD last month, I’m really proud of it.
JS: Now that’s with you and Stacy Dash…
DP: Correct. That was a lot of fun. It’s brilliantly done. I’ve worked with Brandon Slagle a lot as a director. He managed to do a really amazing film, that works on several timelines and several different planes of reality. It’s a movie where, if you believe in the paranormal, you can watch it as a ghost story. If you don’t, you can watch it as a psychological thriller. On top of that, there’s yet another twist to it. It’s been well received so far, so we’re really grateful.
JS: I’m going to check it out. I’ll let you know what I think.
DP: I would absolutely love to know your opinion, really would. Thank you so much.
JS: Absolutely. Anything else that you’re working on that you want to tell us about?
DP: That’s the main one I’m promoting right now. I did sign on to two new films that I don’t think I can announce yet. Then we’re headed to the Philippines on Tuesday because we’re going to be shooting some movies there, as well.
JS: In the Philippines? Really?
DP: Yes! I started traveling a lot in the last few years so my goal is to as many movies overseas as I can. There’s so much history, and folklore, and crazy cool shit that Americans have not seen.
JS: It’s been a pleasure talking to you for Women in Horror Month, women are such a huge part of the horror genre so it’s cool to celebrate that. Women are so huge to the horror genre that there’s a thing called "final girl." Where else do you have that?
DP: Right? I think women have been involved for a really long time and it just wasn’t known. I was lucky enough to be involved in the very first Women in Horror Month I was brand new to the genre and I was part of that movement. It’s made all the difference for those of us working in the genre to help us continue work and grow.
JS: It’s an awesome movement.
DP: And the men that support it. We can scream about it all day long but if we’re not all coming together to acknowledge and embrace it…
JS: Agreed. Devanny, I thank you for your time. I appreciate the phone call.
DP: Thank you, I appreciate your time as well. I hope to see you at some stuff or nerd out on some horror movies with you anytime!
JS: Right? It’s fun to geek out! (Laughing.)
DP: Absolutely. I love geeking out, anytime. Thank you so much.
JS: Anytime, and you’re welcome!
DP: Take care, Josh!
JS: You too!
It was a blast talking horror with Devanny. Be sure to check her out in “The Dawn,” on DVD this Tuesday, February 25th! Here's the poster and also the trailer!
That’s it, for now, folks! Until next time, keep on geekin’ on, my friends!
Joshua “Prometheus” Scafidi